Please note: This was published over a year ago. Phone numbers, email addresses and other information may have changed.
Rosie Bluebird, an Oglala Lakota, speaks about challenges growing up
Photos and Story by James Hill
"In Her Own Words" with guest Rosie Bluebird
When: June 1, 2009, 11:00—11:50 a.m.
Where: PCC Cascade in TH 122.
Rosie Bluebird is an Oglala Lakota registered at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Raised on the outskirts of the reservation in extreme poverty her family would often go a day or more without food. Rosie’s parents did not speak any English except to say their names; Earl Bluebird and Winnie Redfeather. During this time, native children across America were forcibly being removed from their homes by the government. At age 3, Rosie along with her siblings were removed from their home by government officials and sent to a boarding school. Able to go home only occasionally during summers they lost precious family connections with one another.
Holy Rosary Mission is where Rosie and her siblings were forced to assimilate and leave their culture behind. In the boarding school children were forced to do labor, punished harshly and not fed properly. At age 15, Rosie was so grossly malnourished that standing at 4’6” she weighed only 89 pounds and her body had failed to produce any enamel on her teeth. Yet, when Rosie graduated from the boarding school at 18, she had managed to hold onto her language and the heart of her culture. Currently, Rosie lives in Portland where she spends time with family and she is involved with graduate students at Portland State University working to revive her native language for generations to come.
Sponsored by the Cascade Women’s Resource Center.